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Written by Texas Highways

Dale Watson

Veteran Austin honky-tonker Dale Watson (above) grew so disgusted with the direction of mainstream country music that he set out to define a new genre of roots music with the term “Ameripolitan.” February 16, 2016 at Austin’s Paramount Theatre, the third annual Ameripolitan Music Awards celebrates the sounds of honky-tonk, Western swing, rockabilly, and outlaw with awards and performances, including by Charley Pride (a 2016 Master Award winner), James Hand, Kim Lenz, and Wayne Hancock. February 12-15, the event will showcase Ameripolitan bands at clubs around Austin, as well as performances at the State Theater of The Doyle and Debbie Show.

Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest

With February highs in the mid-60s, lows in the mid-30s, and a good chance of sunshine, Big Bend offers a perfect winter climate for mountain biking the region’s scenic terrain. February 11-13, 2016, the annual Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest makes the most of the season—and draws several hundred riders—with organized rides at Big Bend Ranch State Park, Big Bend National Park, and Lajitas Resort. The outings range in difficulty and length from kids’ rides to a 54-mile venture into the state park. Nightly dinners and socials round out the weekend.

JohnsonCity1Romanesco broccoli, I just learned, is the ultimate fractal vegetable. On a visit with my children to the new Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City, we gaze into a supersized glowing head of broccoli. Its multicolored geometric shapes swirl down from a 40-foot silo, giving us a glimpse into the world of fractals, those repeating patterns in nature that can be found in everything from snowflakes to seashells.

frIn the January issue, writer June Naylor digs into the Glen Rose-area restaurant scene with a story on Loco Coyote, a barbecue restaurant that draws crowds as much for the ambiance as for the topnotch food. Here are some ideas to round out your Glen Rose weekend.

DaytripperMonahans

There are times when the highways of West Texas seem to go on forever. Small towns and rest stops flash by with seemingly little to differentiate one from another. However, each highway exit offers a call to discover something distinctive, which is exactly what happened when I pulled off into the desert oasis of Monahans.

CiboloFew things evoke the romance of the Old Southwest more than adobe. Houses made of earth seem timeless, older than the river that flows between Texas and Mexico. They appear to have simply emerged from the landscape as naturally as ocotillo and agave.

missionOn a 1709 expedition into the unsettled territory north of the Rio Grande, Fray Isidro Espinosa of Nueva España wrote in his diary about the springs and river that later gave rise to the city of San Antonio, noting that the river could “supply not only a village but a city” and that “we called it the river of San Antonio de Padua.”

lococoyotemain

At 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, my husband and I turn off US 67 onto twisty, narrow Somervell County Road 1004 southwest of Glen Rose. About a mile down the way, we come upon a ramshackle barbecue joint where pickup trucks, SUVs, and an assortment of Harleys and other motorcycles are parked beside a cedar-post fence.

bangersHalfway through a pumpkin porter and a bluegrass song, my Thursday night is humming along nicely. I’m sitting outside at a long wooden table at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in the heart of Austin’s Rainey Street.

periniEach visit to Buffalo Gap proves more rewarding than the last. This tiny burg (population about 460) sits in a woodsy hollow less than 10 miles south of Abilene, and reassures me that there are still places whose charm stems from old-fashioned simplicity. Equally removed from modern-world worries is a refuge known as Perini Ranch Steakhouse, the primary reason I bothered to find Buffalo Gap in the first place.

txmusic

A guitar-brandishing fiberglass jalapeño beckons from the sidewalk in downtown Irving. Walk a few paces more and you’ll find a keyboard painted on the walkway, and beyond that, a glass door etched with the names of famous songs, from “Tumblin’ Tumbleweed” to “Wooly Bully” and “I Want to Take You Higher.”

hippodrome

There’s a new sense of energy and possibility on the streets of downtown Waco—not a boom, exactly, but a steady drumbeat led by some determined entrepreneurs whose vision of the future is infused with an affectionate regard for the city’s past.

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